WITH THE RECENT G20 and APEC summits, I take a brief glance at politics again. As I’ve explored before, political debate is front and centre in Hong Kong society, and it’s natural that satire plays a part. My friends and I came across this mural in Yau Ma Tei, near the end of the … More Hong Kong Hotspot: A Comedy of Celebrities
FROM A LITERARY perspective, the predominant canon of Western publications have tended to portray China as this sort of exotic paradise to be conquered or plundered by the valiant explorer. And in many ways that has come true, such as in business. And when it comes to a business perspective, Hong Kong has emerged in … More Hong Kong Hotspot: Not Far, and Certainly Not ‘East’
HONG KONG, AS arguably having been the freest Chinese-speaking jurisdiction over the 20th century, has long been the bastion of artistic expression in the Sinosphere throughout this period. And there is no doubt that film is one of its strengths, as evidenced in one of its tourist traps, the Avenue of Stars. But the culture … More Hong Kong Hotspot: A Reel of Celebration
A city that grows as fast as Hong Kong is easily at risk of forgetting certain things. Here – or in any of the four Asian tiger cities, for that matter – you may marvel at the then-and-now contrasts of rapid economic development. But on the ground, you realise that when a place grows that … More Hong Kong Hotspot: Express Yourself
THE SUBWAY SEEMS to be one of the most mundane parts of everyday life for city dwellers. But put yourself in the mindset of a traveller and the subway could be one of the most overlooked parts of a city’s history. Although it has rapidly expanded in the past 10 years and in the wake … More Beijing Backpacking, Day 20: Metro Art, Signs of the Times
YESTERDAY I EXPLORED how much music is a universal language in the bars of Guloudajie. As with music anywhere, music challenges my perceptions. But there is no perception about China that has challenged me so far as much as its art scene. I’m referring, of course, to Beijing’s fabled art district, known colloquially as ‘798’, … More Beijing Backpacking, Day 18: Art, Freedom vs. Identity?
There’s no doubt that Filipinos have a stagy side to them. Just wait for any karaoke session or opportunity to dance. Or any jeepney. But when you take it to an entire building, that becomes a whole new level. With development in the Philippines skyrocketing, there is no shortage of new construction – but most … More Filipino Cool or Filipino Kitsch?
MANY PEOPLE MISTAKE my ethnicity. Often they’d think I’m Indian, Indonesian … or Mexican. My response to the latter, or to anyone who asks me about Filipino culture, I usually sum it up in one word: ‘Mexicasian’. Mexicasian. We’re in the middle of Asia and the bamboo network Chinese have assimilated to the point where many … More Makati Means Murals
I remember encountering a quote which made me rethink the meaning of art. What makes art so incredible? Why do we complement someone’s skill by calling it an ‘art’? Hearing British scholar Christopher Dawson’s quote struck me instantly: that ‘social activity is of its very nature artistic; it is the shaping of the rough material of … More Sydney: Think Streets, Think Art